Home BETTING TIPS It finally feels like Mbappe’s career at the very top can begin

It finally feels like Mbappe’s career at the very top can begin

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Last week, football’s worst kept secret was revealed. Kylian Mbappe, France’s superstar and arguably the best player on the planet, announced he would be leaving Paris Saint-Germain in a video message to his fans.

It was the latest and ultimately final twist in what has been a long and arduous tale. Often turning toxic, it is a relief that the relationship is coming to an end. Mbappe has flirted with his exit for years, particularly with Real Madrid looming in the background like a long shadow, but never left PSG until now.

“I’ve always said that I would speak with you when the time comes,” Mbappe said.

“It’s my last year at Paris St-Germain. I will not extend and the adventure will come to an end in a few weeks.”

“It’s a lot of emotions, many years where I had the chance and the great honour to be a member of the biggest French club, one of the best in the world.

“It allowed me to arrive here, to have my first experience in a club with a lot of pressure, to grow as a player of course, by being alongside some of the best in history, some of the greatest champions.

“It’s hard and I never thought it would be this difficult to announce that. But I think I needed this, a new challenge, after seven years.”

The French champions, and their owners the Qatari Sports Investment Group via club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, have gone to huge lengths to keep him at the Parc des Princes. They offered earth-shattering wages and even reportedly a vast amount of power within the team structure, to get him to sign the contract that is expiring at the end of the season two years ago.

At that stage, a move to Madrid appeared a formality until the very last moment. But that deal, and a world-record bid from Saudi Arabia that followed last summer, were just slight plot twists before his inevitable move to the Santiago Bernabeu. The other half of the open secret is that deal is now agreed; all that’s to come is the announcement.

In reality, the best player in the world joining the biggest club in the world should be a story that dominates football discourse for months, creating a buzz of excitement. But the manner in which this has dragged on has exhausted fans; until, of course, Mbappe is draped in the white shirt and lining up next to Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga et al, then the excitement might reset itself.

Madrid is the place to be if you want to market yourself as a world superstar. They are a PR machine, with a history of players who have won the Ballon d’Or. Their talent is of course the most important factor, as it will be when Mbappe inevitably joins the list of winners, but playing for that club is an instant leg-up. There’s an aura about it; the assumption is a player good enough to play for them is world class. In the case of Mbappe, who has already proven himself as that having inspired France to the 2018 World Cup as a teenager before scoring a hat-trick in the final defeat to Argentina four years later.

And therein lies the problem with Mbappe and his legacy. He’s not needed better marketing, that is not why he’s joining Real Madrid. But to fulfil his potential, which now stands as possible ending his career as an all time great, he needs to play in a competitive league and win the Champions League, something he has never looked like doing at PSG. The Paris project is still learning and growing, at a slower rate than Mbappe himself; at 25 years of age, it finally feels like his career at the very top can begin.

Mbappe has never felt particularly happy or settled at PSG, despite it being his hometown club. That’s because he’s always known there’s more to achieve. At the end of his career, though, he may live to regret not leaving earlier to pursue one of the great careers. That bar is so high, and he’ll forever be judged harshly, regardless of what he goes on to achieve.